Like children who suffered through a bad year but always kept the faith that Santa Claus would come, Washington investors finally found their stockings stuffed with the rewards of last week's end-of-the-year rally.

The stock market's after-Christmas spree sent The Washington Post-Bloomberg regional stock index into the New Year at a record 185.19, up 9.5 percent from a year ago. The gain represents the average performance of more than 200 stocks in the index of publicly traded companies based in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

For all of last year, however, there was no average stock -- only incredible ones, mediocre ones and losers. The losers predominated, outnumbering the winners by 131 to 93. In fact, the tally of winners is so short that all of them are listed on this page.

The year-end review of local stocks shows just how misleading statistical averages can be. The average gain for local stocks was almost 10 percent, but the average stock lost money.

That anomaly reflects the distorted stock market that has been twisted even more out of shape by the rally in technology stocks in the last few weeks. While most stocks really aren't doing much, the ones that are moving are hot enough to pull up the averages.

The size of the gains turned in last year by the region's leading tech stocks is without precedent: The stocks of 45 companies more than doubled and the biggest winners produced the kind of percentage gains that send investors back to their elementary school math books.

Gains of several hundred percent are usually seen only when a penny-stock company suddenly gets hot and jumps to a couple of dollars a share from a few cents. That's what happened to Celsion Corp., the Columbia biotech company.

The biotechnology sector boomed during the year, lead by the gene gang: Human Genome Sciences Inc., up 329 percent; Gene Logic Inc., up 280 percent; Digene Corp., up 213 percent; and MedImmune Inc., up 234 percent.

Attracted by those gains, investors started looking at lesser-known biotechs and discovered that Celsion was doing clinical trials on treatments for breast cancer and enlarged prostates -- a his-and-hers pair of potential winners. Shares of the company, formerly known as Cheung Laboratories, jumped to more than $4 from 23 cents. Even when the stock price fell back to half that price, its gain for the year came out to a four-figure percentage.

But the year's big winner was not a penny stock, not a "story stock" with an unfinished product, not even an Internet start-up. It was a company that provides an ordinary wireless phone service -- Omnipoint Corp. of Bethesda.

The stock of Omnipoint, which agreed in July to be acquired by Voicestream Wireless Corp., rose to $120.62 1/2 a share from $8.62 1/2. Since then both stocks have continued to advance in lockstep, marching along with not only the cellular phone industry but all the wireless communications stocks.

LCC International Inc., Aether Systems Inc., Nextel Communications Inc., American Mobile Satellite Corp. and Teligent Inc. all rode the same wireless wave that lifted Omnipoint.

Internet stocks, of course, had a great year. Does anyone have to ask the business of Proxicom Inc., MicroStrategy Inc., Netrix Corp., USinternetworking Inc., ePlus Inc. Cysive Inc., Digex Inc., AppNet Inc. or Network Solutions Inc.?

Mostly they are in the second wave of Internet stocks. These companies are not trying to invent new ways of doing business over the Internet, but rather are providing services to other Internet migrants.

Internet newcomers, meanwhile, swept right past the granddaddy of Washington area Net stocks -- America Online Inc. AOL still is the stock of the decade by any long-term measure, even though it gained "only" 96 percent last year.

Given AOL's return, is there any better example of how hyperactive the market was last year? The most innovative technology company in the region turns in its most successful year ever, maintains a spectacular growth rate, launches dozens of new ventures, signs several key partnership and its stock nearly doubles.

And after that, AOL was in 47th place, about the middle of the pack, on the list of the region's hottest stocks.

If you think those numbers don't compute, stick around for the new decade. Either the technology stocks that pushed the markets to record highs are going to prove their worth quickly, or investors soon will be longing for the return of the roaring 1990s.

THE WINNERS OF 1999

Company: Omnipoint Corp.

Friday close: $120.62 1/2

YTD change: 1,195%

Company: Celsion Corp.

Friday close: $2.93 3/4

YTD change: 1,177%

Company: Proxicom Inc.*

Friday close: $124.31 1/4

YTD change: 856%

Company: MicroStrategy Inc.

Friday close: $210.00

YTD change: 566%

Company: US-China Industrial Exchange

Friday close: $18.25

YTD change: 564%

Company: Netrix Corp.

Friday close: $14.93 3/4

YTD change: 529%

Company: LCC International Inc.

Friday close: $19.93 3/4

YTD change: 432%

Company: USInternetworking*

Friday close: $69.87 1/2

YTD change: 399%

Company: ePlus Inc.

Friday close: $36.00

YTD change: 393%

Company: Aether Systems *

Friday close: $71.62 1/2

YTD change: 348%

Company: Nextel Communications

Friday close: $103.12 1/2

YTD change: 337%

Company: Human Genome Sciences

Friday close: $152.62 1/2

YTD change: 329%

Company: Fastcomm Communications Co.

Friday close: $1.87 1/2

YTD change: 326%

Company: Cysive Inc.*

Friday close: $72.06 1/4

YTD change: 324%

Company: LifeMinders.com *

Friday close: $57.75

YTD change: 312%

Company: Digex *

Friday close: $68.75

YTD change: 304%

Company: American Mobile Satellite Corp.

Friday close: $21.06 1/4

YTD change: 301%

Company: Ciena Corp.

Friday close: $57 1/2

YTD change: 293%

Company: Apache Medical Systems

Friday close: $1.43 3/4

YTD change: 283%

Company: Gene Logic

Friday close: $26.50

YTD change: 280%

Company: AppNet *

Friday close: $43.75

YTD change: 265%

Company: Excalibur Technolgy

Friday close: $20.62 1/2

YTD change: 237%

Company: MedImmune Inc.

Friday close: $165.87 1/2

YTD change: 234%

Company: Network Solutions Inc.

Friday close: $217.56 1/4

YTD change: 233%

Company: Intelidata Technology

Friday close: $4.15 5/8

YTD change: 217%

Company: Digene Corp.

Friday close: $17.43 3/4

YTD change: 213%

Company: PSINet Inc.

Friday close: $61.75

YTD change: 213%

Company: Corporate Executive Board *

Friday close: $55/87 1/2

YTD change: 194%

Company: Novavax Inc.

Friday close: $5.61 1/2

YTD change: 190%

Company: United Therapeutics Corp.*

Friday close: $46.00

YTD change: 187%

Company: CoStar Group

Friday close: $35.875

YTD change: 184%

Company: Network Access Solutions *

Friday close: $33.00

YTD change: 175%

Company: Trex Corp.*

Friday close: $26.75

YTD change: 168%

Company: Radio One Inc.*

Friday close: $92.00

YTD change: 166%

Company: Diehl Graphsoft

Friday close: $7.12 1/2

YTD change: 165%

Company: Manugistics Group Inc.

Friday close: $32.31 1/4

YTD change: 158%

Company: Primus Telecommunications

Friday close: $38.25

YTD change: 132%

Company: TFC Enterprises

Friday close: $3.75

YTD change: 131%

Company: Integral Systems Inc.

Friday close: $44.12 1/2

YTD change: 127%

Company: Micros Systems Inc.

Friday close: $74.00

YTD change: 125%

Company: Startec Global Communications

Friday close: $21/37 1/2

YTD change: 122%

Company: Information Resource Engineering

Friday close: $20.50

YTD change: 120%

Company: Teligent

Friday close: $61.75

YTD change: 115%

Company: Interstate Genral Corp.

Friday close: $8.00

YTD change: 113%

Company: Visual Networks Inc.

Friday close: $79.25

YTD change: 111%

Company: V-One Corp.

Friday close: $5.87 1/2

YTD change: 98%

Company: America Online Inc.

Friday close: $75.87 1/2

YTD change: 96%

Company: Treev Inc.

Friday close: $3.15 5/8

YTD change: 91%

Company: TeleCorp PCS*

Friday close: $38.00

YTD change: 90%

Company: GRC International

Friday close: $11.87 1/2

YTD change: 88%

Company: CAIS Internet*

Friday close: $35.50

YTD change: 87%

Company: Circuit City Stores Inc.

Friday close: $45.08 3/4

YTD change: 80%

Company: Optical Cable Corp.

Friday close: $20.00

YTD change: 65%

Company: Group 1 Software

Friday close: $13.00

YTD change: 62%

Company: GTS Duratek Inc.

Friday close: $7.87 1/2

YTD change: 59%

Company: AES Corp.

Friday close: $74.75

YTD change: 58%

Company: Credit Management Solutions

Friday close: $8.50

YTD change: 55%

Company: Telebanc Financial Corp.

Friday close: $26.00

YTD change: 53%

Company: Martek Bioscience

Friday close: $12.00

YTD change: 50%

Company: CFW Communications Co.

Friday close: $34.75

YTD change: 49%

Company: Reynolds Metals Inc.

Friday close: $76.61 1/2

YTD change: 49%

Company: Harmon International

Friday close: $56.12 1/2

YTD change: 47%

Company: Hill Rogal & Hamilton

Friday close: $28.25

YTD change: 42%

Company: Cary International

Friday close: $24.37 1/2

YTD change: 39%

Company: Softworks Inc.

Friday close: $9.71 7/8

YTD change: 38%

Company: CACI Inc.

Friday close: $22.62 1/2

YTD change: 34%

Company: GSE Systems Inc.

Friday close: $3.31 1/4

YTD change: 32%

Company: Cel-Sci Corp.

Friday close: $2.31 1/4

YTD change: 32%

Company: BTG Inc.

Friday close: $8.12 1/2

YTD change: 31%

Company: ACECom Corp.

Friday close: $8.12 1/2

YTD change: 26%

Company: Gannett Co.

Friday close: $81.56 1/4

YTD change: 26%

Company: Capital One Financial

Friday close: $48.18 3/4

YTD change: 26%

Company: Best Software

Friday close: $29.50

YTD change: 24%

Company: Meridian Medical Systems

Friday close: $5.62 1/2

YTD change: 22%

Company: Entremed Inc.

Friday close: $25.61 1/2

YTD change: 22%

Company: Xybernaut Corp.

Friday close: $5.37 1/2

YTD change: 19%

Company: Guilford Pharmaceuticals

Friday close: $17.00

YTD change: 19%

Company: NCRIC Group*

Friday close: $8.75

YTD change: 16%

Company: Legg Mason Inc.

Friday close: $36.25

YTD change: 15%

Company: Comdial Corp.

Friday close: $9.93 3/4

YTD change: 13%

Company: Town & Country REIT

Friday close: $17.93 3/4

YTD change: 12%

Company: Dollar Tree Stores

Friday close: $48.43 3/4

YTD change: 11%

Company: Roanoke Electric

Friday close: $16.25

YTD change: 11%

Company: RGC Rscources

Friday close: $22.00

YTD change: 11%

Company: Life Technology Inc.

Friday close: $42.62 1/2

YTD change: 10%

Company: Charles E. Smith Residential

Friday close: $35.37 1/2

YTD change: 10%

Company: Versar Inc.

Friday close: $2.12 1/2

YTD change: 10%

Company: Columbia Energy

Friday close: $63.25

YTD change: 10%

Company: Marriott International

Friday close: $31.56 1/4

YTD change: 9%

Company: T. Rowe Price Inc.

Friday close: $36.93 3/4

YTD change: 8%

Company: Allied Capital Corp.

Friday close: $18.31 1/4

YTD change: 6%

Company: Washington Gas Light

Friday close: $27.50

YTD change: 2%

Company: Stanley Furniture

Friday close: $18.37 1/2

YTD change: 1%

THE LOSERS OF 1999

Company: Kaiser Group International

Friday close: 0.37 1/2

YTD change: - 74%

Company: Sunrise Assisted Living

Friday close: $13.75

YTD change: - 73%

Company: Fortress Group Inc.

Friday close: 0.68 3/4

YTD change: - 72%

Company: Genicom Corp.

Friday close: 0.71 5/8

YTD change: - 68%

Company: LandAmerica Financial

Friday close: 18.37 1/2

YTD change: - 67%

Company: Dynex Capital

Friday close: 6.43 3/4

YTD change: - 65%

Company: Computer Learning Centers

Friday close: $2.40 5/8

YTD change: - 64%

Company: Jos. A. Bank Clothiers

Friday close: 3.00

YTD change: - 62%

Company: Metrocall Inc.

Friday close: 1.68 3/4

YTD change: - 61%

Company: nView Corp.

Friday close: 0.11

YTD change: - 61%

* Company went public in 1999. Return is from IPO offering price.

Source: Bloomberg News